I received a call from Clarence Curvan the other night. He was very moved by the passing of his dear friend and colleague Joey Lewis , and needed to express his feelings verbally.
Clarence , who is still in Trinidad asked me to put some of his feelings into words for him , and I'll give it a try.
After expressing his emotions about his friends passing , and his condolences to the relatives and friends of the legendary bandleader, Mr. Curvan gave some insight into the depth of their relationship ; the love , respect and admiration he had for the man and the musician , and his appreciation for "Pal Joey's" immense contributions to our music and culture.
As youths , Joey and Clarence were bandmates in Joey's elder brother's band , the Sonny Lewis Orchestra , a popular 1950s era band.
Joey and Clarence were also members of the Cyril Diaz band , and were among the musicians that created Trinidad's calypso sound of the 1950's and 60s , and established the foundation for modern calypso music.
As a matter of fact , Clarence agrees that Joey's guitar revolutionized the sound of Trinidad's calypso music , and Joey's guitar styling with his distinctive strumming was soon copied by musicians throughout the Eastern Caribbean.
When the Mighty Sparrow came on the scene , in the period between 1957 and 1962, The Cyril Diaz band,including Joey and Clarence along with noted Trinidad musicians like Bert Innis and Errol Ince were the support musicians, and their music propelled calypso music unto the international scene.
Classic calypso fans may remember Sparrow's shout out to Joey in some of his songs , with shouts of "Oh guitar, Joey", as Joey soloed on guitar during some of Sparrow's early hits.
Sadly , Mr. Curvan told me that the only members of that great music band left are Errol Ince , Patrick Diaz , and himself.
Eventually , both Clarence Curvan and Joey Lewis became successful bandleaders , with the Joey “Pal Joey” Lewis Orchestra becoming one of the longest continuing music bands in the Caribbean.
To Curvan , Joey Lewis was a friend ,mentor, colleague and business partner for whom he had immense respect , and with whom he maintained a close relationship to the end.
Finally, Clarence Curvan hopes that Joey Lewis and his music be remembered ,appreciated and celebrated, and that he be recognized for his contributions to our culture , and his role in creating the sound of Trinidad's music.
May Joey "Pal Joey" Lewis Rest In Peace.
Talk about memories, Glenroy!!! Cyril Diaz, Bert Inniss, Joey, Clarence, Errol, all maestros in their own right. This morning (Friday), as I watched and listened to Roy 'Pappy' Cape more or less saying goodbye to his active participation, I remembered how many great musicians of that era learnt their skills at the Orphanage. They were poor boys who discovered a mechanism to left themselves from poverty through music. Cyril Ramdeo comes to mind.
With the passing of Joey, the curtain is coming down on an era when great brass ruled the dance-halls and calypso tents. We are fortunate to still have Errol, Clarence and Patrick Diaz around, as well as the slightly younger Roy Cape.
Can some patriot not try to bring together these giants, along with persons like Felix Roach, in a grand finale?
That would be a fitting tribute to them and maybe spawn a 'heritage' album that would be priceless.
The Golden Era of Brass has been Gone for now a Long Time. We Pay Homage to Johnny Gomez - Cyril Diaz - Frankie Francis - Mano Marceline - Ron Berridge - Clarence Curvan - Pete de Vlute - Cyril Ramdeo - Fitz Vaughn Bryan - Norman 'Tex' Williams - John 'Buddy' Williams - Ray Sylvester - Bonaparte and Our Beloved ''Pal Joey Lewis. We Thanks them All and others Who Contributed to Our Musical Entertainment. Thanks for The Music Bless.
Its so nice to hear words from those who were actually there and know what really went down. My brother Patrick, introduced me to Clarence in the late 50's when he had Darlington Brown as his guitarist who I thought gave a very good interpretation of Joey's new strum. That was my opportunity to get "lucky" with the young girls at the time because although I wasnt active in the music scene as my brother I hung on to the association of such greats as Joey and Clarence Curvan.. Hey Clarence if you read this is it possible for me to obtain a copy of your rendition of "suspicion" early sixties, I would really appreciate that, its my favorite as you merged into the big band style trombone and all from the combo scene., and I think its Beverly Griffith who did the splended arrangement..thank you. Joey may have passed on but his memory lingers on in the hearts of all who loved him and his family, it was whispered that he was one of leaders who treated his band members as family RIP Joey...
Sweetest dance music in the world. Thanks for the joy, the fun , the pleasure you brought to my young adult years at home. May your journey home be filled with music. Condolences to his family and to our country. Another great one is gone.